Constitutional Convention

By: Hunter Smither

What is the Constitutional Convention?

Before any sort of meeting/convention was called to amend the Articles of Confederation, a rebellion occurred with it the leader named Daniel Shay, a former American Revolutionary officer, lead 2,500 farmers against Massachusetts, as several states were taking land from farmers without their consent and using it to pay back debts.

On September 1786, states were called to a federal meeting.

The Constitutional Convention took place on May 14, 1787 in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia The purpose of the convention was to amend, fix, the Articles of Confederation which produced a weak central government.

The Articles of Confederation (a.o.c) was a ruling of government and could not be the only federal form.

  • The A.O.C allowed all the states to produce their own forms of currency with their own value
  • With that in mind, the Federal Government could not intervene in trade along with having no way to gain or use money.

Through all of this, the outcome was that the convention had came up with the Constitution of the United States of America, with it James Madison was looked/known as the Father of the Constitution, he played a massive part in its creation.

The Starting Plans

The Virginia Plan

One of the first plans presented during the Constitutional Convention

Called for the number of votes for each state to be based on population, bigger states could have more power within voting.

Based off of the French Philosopher Baron Montesquieu, a system of checks and balances was established as the new American Government was going to be split into three branches.

  • Executive, head of government, contains the President
  • Judicial, justice branch, Law enforcement, Judges, etc.
  • Legislative, law making/decision making, will be a Bicameral (two houses); they would contain the House of Representatives, would have 3-year terms elected by people, on the other note, the Senate would be the other house, 7-year terms by state legislatives.
This plan also allowed future territories to join the United States and become states!!
  • Without this we would only have the 13 colonies as the only states. Bye bye everyone else.

The Virginia Plan Supporters

James Madison

A long life full of politics and entertainment is what James Madison lived through; born in 1751 and dying in 1836. James Madison lead the charge for the American Constitution and to the construction of the Bill of Rights. Due to these history changing events; Madison earned the nickname "Father of the Constitution". Madison completing his life's adventure also became our 4th President serving 1809 to 1817.

He also was the man who presented this Plan in the year 1787 during the convention.

George Washington

Our most honorable and most recognized man in world, Mr. George Washington was the American Revolutionary War Commander in Chief who also became our 1st President. Washington helped with the construction of the Constitution as he was elected President of the Convention. He knew that his time in Presidency would change and shape the future of America's President, so he lead with honor, respect, integrity, and handing down a legacy of strength.

The New Jersey Plan

The second major plan mentioned during the Constitution Convention, this plan was more to contradict/battle out the Virginia Plan.

Called for one vote for each state, no matter the size or population

Wanted to organize a stronger central government split into three branches of various ideals.

  • Executive- President, head of government; usually forming the final say
  • Judicial- Judges, law enforcement, etc. Would charge and keep the peace among people and let justice prevail
  • Legislative- Law making, and decision debate branch, same as Virginia Plan; except ONE house which membership/voting would one be equal for all states.

This plan also gave Congress the power to Tax along with the additional power to regulate interstate trading.

The main statements of the New Jersey Plan was:

  • Keep and amend the Articles of Confederation.
  • Article of Confederation and laws made by the central government to be the law of the land, unable to be removed, but allowed to be amended.

Ultimately the plan was removed from the discussion, but several ideals were taken into consideration. Which became known as the Great Compromise also known as the Connecticut Compromise.

The New Jersey Plan Supporters

William Patterson

His time occupied with various means of politics, William Patterson was an honorable man born in Ireland in 1745 with his life coming to an end in 1806 at the age of 60 years-old. During his life, he got himself through local private schools along with the College of New Jersey, now Princeton, with his younger years of helping his father selling tin made goods. He joined the Constitution Convention on 1787, representing the state of New Jersey. After the convention he continued a life of law and order becoming New Jersey's governor 1790-1793 along with several other act in the Federal Government.

Alexander Hamilton

A man not known very popular on American's mind. Born in 1757 at the British West Indies and a long life ending in 1804. Hamilton attended Barber's Academy in 1772, his studies were halted when the American Revolution started. He accepted an Artillery Captaincy and fought in the Principal Campaigns during 1776-1777, during 1786-1787 he urged the call for the Constitutional Convention, throughout the convention he obtained some absence due to a partnership in writing the Federalist Papers, he did sign the Constitution. Throughout his life he attended studies of law with his growing interest in strengthening America's Central Government along with gaining several positions within the Federal Government.

The Finally

The Great Compromise & Convention Issues


The Constitutional Convention wasn't all butterflies and happy thoughts, roughly forty men from thirteen states were in a locked courthouse for hours upon hours everyday for about six months.

Also on the note, tensions were high between the bigger states and smaller states, as representation was a concerning issue for the smaller states who had less population than the larger states.


Combined the Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan's ideals of the Legislative branch, forming a two house legislature.

  • The bottom house being based on population with officials being elected by the people. Votes based on population, with this in mind the majority vote on a issue is reflected by members in the upper house who represent the same ideals as the lower house and the people.
  • The top house had two representatives which would go to Senate, a.k.a Senators, for each state no matter the size. These members were elected by the bottom house. The top house gain two votes.